A post about some of the food I’ve seen and eaten whilst in China in May/June 2015.
Peking Duck in Beijing is supposed to be the best in the world. They are roasted with branches of fruit trees for added flavour. I thought it was tender and well cooked but I did not think it was more flavoursome or better than Peking Duck I’ve had in other countries. Still, it was absolutely delicious!
Anyone feel like munching on scorpions on a skewer? What about a star fish or a sea horse? I didn’t see any Chinese people eat these. I suspect they are there for the novelty value and for foreigners on dare. The normal beef and chicken on a skewer were selling much better. What you can’t see in the photo is that the scorpions are still alive and moving on the skewer whilst awaiting their turn on the grill!
One of the specialties of Shanghai and around the Yuyuen gardens are these large dumplings filled with soup. I didn’t realise but actually, these are only filled with soup, there is no other filling. I chose one at random and it was filled with quite a lot of very strong meaty juices inside. There was no other filling. The dough was really thick and tough I guess to withstand being in the steamer all day and to ensure there would be no soup leakage before it got to the customer. It’s bizarre sucking out the insides of a dumpling with a straw!
There is a street food market area in Xian which is called the Muslim Quarter. Lots of interesting foods being sold here. There is a yellow sticky rice cake which is huge and cut into smaller portions and skewered for easy eating. Soft shell crab, cuttlefish and soft shell crabs on skewers. Meat being grilled over charcoal. The meat is threaded on branches and the branches are then placed in a bucket once the meat has been eaten. I think perhaps for some stalls the size of the bucket of used skewer branches is an indication to new patrons of how delicious their spicy meat skewers are. There are also Chinese Muslim men pulling sugar candy. They wear white hats on their heads and the Chinese Muslim ladies wear headscarfs. The sugar is turned into many different kinds of confectionary with the additional of other ingredients like nuts and seeds after it is pulled.
I saw a stall making the most incredible looking fairy floss ever. There are also piles of braised pigs trotters and the largest red dates I have ever seen for sale. It’s too bad I’m so cautious about eating street food or else this would be an amazing eating opportunity.
When we arrived in Chengdu, we headed to a local restarant. This was probably my favourite dining experience in China. We had these spicy Sichuan style noodles. They were dry noodles and had pork mince. Once you stir it, the noodles are coated with a spicy oily, porky sauce. As you eat these noodles, the Sichuan peppers causes a numbing and strong tingling sensation on your tongue. The pastry is crispy, greasy, laminated and crusty from being deep fried. There is salted cured pork within. They are really so tasty and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to try to recreate a “slightly healthier” version of this pastry using puff pastry and an oven. Writing this post is making me crave this pastry!
It’s hard to make out from the photo but these are spicy braised rabbit heads. We saw them on a touristy street in Chengdu.
Chengdu is famous for their spicy hot pot. You can see from the picture that the spicy soup is on the outside with a small amount of non-spicy soup in the centre. The picture was taken before any additional ingredients were added. The spicy one had a tonne of peppercorns inside as well as sichuan peppers. It was covered with a thick layer of red, spicy oil. Unlike hot pots I’m familiar with, you couldn’t really drink that spicy soup because it’s too spicy. It was really only for cooking the ingredients. As the meal progressed, the meat and ingredients just got more and more unbearably spicy as the watery soup part evaporated leaving more of the spicy oil. The dessert was delicious though. It was these rectangular shapes of sticky rice which were fried on the outside, so they were soft inside and crispy on the outside and laid on a dark black sauce of fragrant brown sugar and sesame seeds. Unfortunately, there is no picture of dessert because I was so focused on eating it.
That’s all from now from this greedy eater. I’m hungry again and off to find something to eat!